15 May 2020, 14:17
Julian Wettengel

German MPs critical of setting up domestic LNG import infrastructure

Clean Energy Wire

Several German parliamentarians have criticised government plans to set up a domestic infrastructure to import liquefied natural gas (LNG). In a webinar organised by NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH), Social Democrat Nina Scheer said: “We already have a strong dependence, also on Russia, and the question is whether we want to get into this debate and establish LNG as another pillar.” Pointing to comments by the federal government that it aims to speed up the construction of import terminals as a gesture to the United States, Scheer said she takes issue with the fact that Europeans are employing “a kind of appeasement, driven by president Trump”. The Green parliamentary group's energy economy spokesperson Ingrid Nestle said she would prefer Germany to instead focus on setting up an infrastructure for green hydrogen. “The federal government will publish a hydrogen strategy which talks of large amounts of imports of green hydrogen. Using which infrastructure?,” she asked. “Now is the time to set this up.” U.S. researcher Robert Howarth warned that due to the corrosiveness of hydrogen, the natural gas infrastructure cannot simply be used, and hydrogen should be transported as little as possible in the future. “The idea of piping hydrogen is a complete non-starter on the part of the natural gas industry,” he said.

Over the past two years, governments in Europe and America tried to smooth tensions over issues such as trade imbalances or the contentious Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with promises of increased LNG imports. Former U.S. officials and policy experts warn against such politicising of a commodity and say governments have limited options to influence what are essentially business decisions. Until now, there has not been a final investment decision for Germany’s first domestic LNG import terminal.

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